As more consumers seek out products that align with their values, brands need to commit to social impact and transparency in order to establish a trusting relationship with their audience

More consumers are actively seeking out brands that align with their values when it comes to social and environmental impact. Research has found that 90% of millennials will buy from a brand if they trust the brand's environmental and social or business practices, and 95% of those will recommend the products to other people. Faced with this new mindset, brands need to engage consumers differently—first by building trust with their audiences, as PSFK strategists report in our CX Playbook. This is step one of three in the quest to become a purpose-led brand.

To love your brand and its products, consumers first need to know what goes into it and what it stands for. Share the process behind your products and services to connect directly with consumers who value ethics, craftsmanship and quality. Ensure a standard of authenticity and transparency in all communications to build brand trust. 

Grounding the customer experience in trust can take a few forms: committing to being a force for good by exposing consumers to changemaking initiatives and inspirational content; delivering transparency by being upfront about production, pricing and policies; and giving customers access to tools and platforms that help manage and control their data usage and empower them to make smarter decisions. PSFK researchers rounded up examples of companies following these three tenets:

Align the mission

Healthy snack brand Kind’s social impact program Empatico helps students in elementary schools connect and work with other students outside of their community. Empatico is a video-conferencing and digital learning platform that creates interactive lesson plans that schools across America and abroad can do together, seeking to expand everyone’s understanding of differing cultures and social norms. The platform is free, as long as teachers have at least one laptop with a camera and can connect to the internet. When one class is done, a class can use the scheduling tool to find another group of students in a different region or county who are available to live chat.

Ensure end-to-end transparency

Coffee giant Starbucks introduced a blockchain-powered program that traces the production of coffee from bean to cup. The initiative will not only extend Starbucks’ transparency and eco-friendly initiatives, but give coffee farmers more financial independence and provide customers with an opportunity to learn about the company's brewing process. Coffee farmers in Costa Rica, Colombia and Rwanda will log and share real-time data about the coffee and its journey from the farms to consumers’ cup of java. The non-profit Conservation International will measure the impact of the initiative to better understand the benefits it can offer farmers, and Starbucks has announced plans to share this system and the results.

Offer digital agency

Google updated its privacy and security dashboard to be a one-stop shop for users to check and change their privacy settings. Users can choose to opt out of personalized ads, as well as see which third-party services have access to their data. The dashboard also features a “My Activity” tab that allows users to check on their past actions on various Google services like Search, Maps and YouTube, and “Google Takeout,” which lets users export and download their data from its services.

To win over a conscious audience, brands need to prove that they are acting in their customers' and community's best interests—especially in a competitive marketplace where 89% of consumers are loyal to brands that share their values. For a complete look at the strategies and trends, download the CX Playbook report, now available for PSFK Premium Members.